Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Reading Race Online

Burkhalter's article shows that race is not as anonymous and free online simply because there is a virtual space between online individuals. Burkhalter argues that while it might seem like this may be the case because physical attributes that directly inform what race someone is aren't present, other factors enable others online to figure out what race the person is. Usually this happens by the way the individual writes messages, and how he/she conveys their race. Specifically on Usenet, but web site Burkhalter analyzed, the race of individuals can be determined based on the content of their message and the attitude of their message. Therefore, race is just as salient online as it is offline.

The study mentioned in the study guide is interesting because the names of the students are given, which directly imply what race they are. In Burkhalter's study, individuals seemed to have 'screen names' that weren't their actual names that directly linked them to their race. However, this study shows that just because physical signs of race are not present from which to make judgments about others, names, the content of one's message, and one's word choice can be just as telling as one's physical attributes.

No comments:

Post a Comment